Freedom Writer - April 1996
Mel White's soul force
Last month the Rev. Mel White shared some of his principles
for activists. While his religious philosophy may not
be for everyone, we feel many of his ideas are useful
for activists. White's "soul force" principles come
directly from the writings of Gandhi and the Rev. Martin
Luther King, Jr.
13 examples of the soul force principles
We will succeed in our struggle for justice...
by refusing to remain silent and inactive in the face
by believing that God (the Universe, our Higher Power)
is on the side of justice.
by believing that within everyone (even your worst
adversary) there is an amazing potential for positive
by seeing your adversary not as an evil person but
as a victim of misinformation.
by trying to win your adversary's friendship and understanding.
by speaking the truth in love relentlessly, (without
half-truth, lie, or exaggeration), trying to persuade
your adversary on the basis of truth alone.
by attacking the false idea, not the person who holds
by believing that it is as much a moral obligation
to refuse to cooperate with evil as it is to cooperate
by insisting the means must be as pure as the end.
by insisting on non-violence.
by avoiding internal violence of the spirit (hate)
as well as physical violence.
by accepting and absorbing suffering without retaliation.
by not fearing death.
6 sample stages of a soul force action
Recommit yourself to the non-violent soul force principles.
Before you take on any untruth seriously, review the
"soul force" principles. Recommit yourself and your
allies to them. Sign a non-violence pledge.
Research. Do not approach your opponent (the source
of untruth) or the media until you have a carefully
documented case. Details. Details. Details.
Negotiate. Take your case directly to your adversary.
Try to settle the matter amicably, outside the public
arena, but present the truth in love relentlessly.
Educate. If no reconciliation is reached, present your
carefully documented case to the public through the
media. Be sure everyone understands both the untruth
and the truth involved. Continue to negotiate with
Direct action/confrontation. If your adversary refuses
to see the truth, escalate the conflict through direct
non-violent action. Present the truth in love relentlessly.
Reconciliation. Your goal is to bring your adversary
to an understanding of the truth and create a world
where you and your adversary can live in peace.
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